I have about 5 cents worth of opinion about marriage and financial matters

I have about 5 cents worth of opinion about marriage and financial matters. Remembering back to when I first met my husband (boyfriend then) – he saw the debt problem I had and told me point blank that if I continued to spend money as irresponsibly as that and not work with him as “team” we could call it quits right away.

This was when we wanted to just move in together and he was right.

We did not get married until my entire debt was paid off and we could afford a house together. We’ve been married about five years now and I have come to accept that he is and always will be more financially savvy than me, although I have learned and grown in that area a lot. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the man or woman in the family who has more financial sense- it’s usually one or the other and I firmly believe that it can’t be a “blow” to anyone’s ego. Let it go. It’s a team effort as a marriage and the reality is that the financial irresponsibility of one partner (man or woman) can cause two people who really love each to split up. IS that worth it? – NO. Man or woman must become humble and realize that it’s for the good of the LOVE they share and life they vowed to make for each other. Remember those good ol’ vows?

Get rid of the selfishness and stop thinking “I deserve this or that and I don’t want to feel punished” It’s kind of childish. I can say that because I had that attitude and it made me a very unpleasant person.

We never spend on large purchases without talking about it first, we budget everything out – so we may live comfortably and we agree on nearly all of our expenses upfront. We have budgets as personal spending allowances that we don’t have to account for every cent. I always do anyhow because I have gotten into the habit of doing that mainly because, it feels good to know where my spending money is going. This year we had almost no budget for Christmas (we are having our first baby – anyday now! and I stopped working just so we could get pregnant)I knew ahead of time -like in September that we werent going to spend anyhthing for X-mas presents, so I started saving a few dollars each week from my allowance to buy frames and I printed copies of my artwork, framed them and gave those to people as gifts. Everyone in our family loved them and we had a wonderful time together!

When a couple both have limited funds to live on – making finances a together task is really important for the stability of the marriage and the whole family.

I just want to clarify – that my last message about marriage and finances is directed toward the spouses who need to step back and let their partner take over the finaces for awhile – be it the man or woman.

Let them read my last post if they need the attitude adjustment.

I agree with other posts. Whatever you do DON’T TOUCH YOUR SAVINGS!!! That money is yours from before the marriage. Your husband needs to make some changes. Without those so hard changes he’ll get right back into debt and likely even farther than he is now.

Have you two ever considered marriage counseling?

Have you two ever considered marriage counseling. Sounds strange but my wife and I have separate finances as well. After 7 years of marriage we finally realize that our communication skills and our ability to compromise for the good of the family is just not there in a lot of ways. If you are in that much debt, canceling your magazine subscription or turning off the lights is not going to help any. My wife could cancel all her magazine subscriptions but if I can’t get out of Home Depot without spending $500 each visit, we’ll never get any were on our debt. Christmas eve about 11pm, the wife pulled down from the attic about $1000 worth of presents for the two kids. (years and 1 year) I had no idea she spent that much! We are not broke, so we can afford stuff, but why wasn’t that shared with me! I’m sure the boys x-mas would have been just as good on much less. Is that a spending problem or a marriage problem. I tend to think both. We haven’t been to marriage counseling.

I’d me interested if anyone in this group feels theirs is a relationship problem rather than a spending problem. Has anybody ever been to marriage counseling for debt management? I’d love to hear about it in the blog.

So therefore, he, the big ol’ Man-E-a-Man shouldn’t need ‘wifey’ to bail him out with the $800.00. Let him know there are consequences to his actions and do NOT bail him out.

Also, have you tried to speak with an SSA case worker or disability advocacy group? My fella’s sister has 2 kids, both very ADHD and Dillan (The eldest) was getting SSI based on the condition from the age of 3 1/2 years old.

Once he got SSI, he also got medicaid to take care of his medical expenses. I understand that the pre-marriage workshops in the Catholic church deal with money matters as well as all other aspects of marriage. Just my two cents.

Don’t know ALL of it because she lived in her own house (Her dad’s, actually) and not with us. Dillan needed the medicine and she was what I would call ‘Working Poor’. She got a wage, but not enough to afford medical care. IIRC, there’s also programs like “Healthy Families” which offers low cost healthcare to families with children under 18 I think.

As state to states can vary, you’d have to call or check at the SSA.gov pages for your particular state.

I’d be perfectly happy to take over the finances

I’d be perfectly happy to take over the finances, once we had come to some resolution regarding changing our spending habits, working with a debt counselor, finding some sort of repayment plan. I grew up with very frugal parents – there was always enough, but we didn’t have luxuries – so “downsizing” our lifestyle would not be a problem for me. I’d be happier if it was simpler….I don’t watch most of the stations we have on our cable service, for instance, and I’ve always wanted to do more family-centered stuff (rather than passively watching television, for instance).

The problem is, if I try to suggest this, he will take it as an admission of failure…also…because he is the sole earner at this point, he feels he should handle the money.

I really appreciate your input and feedback.

spending behaviorThanks for your response to my posting.

The debt is only in his name. I haven’t signed any sort of credit card applications.

I have one credit card in my maiden name (which I got in 1990, 9 years prior to my marriage) which I try to use rarely and pay off at the end of the month.

My husband gives me an allowance of $40.00 per week. I try to save this so I will have some funds available for when I need to purchase birthday/Christmas gifts for my side of the family. I still have small checking and savings accounts. The one luxury I’ve allowed myself is a subscription to the New Yorker (about $39.00 for the year) but I’d be willing to cancel it.

What brought this problem to the forefront was that my husband asked to borrow $800. out of my savings in order to meet the expenses for January.

I don’t think he’d be willing to take a second job.

What with our older boy being autistic the past four years have been difficult for me….his diagnosis was just two months before our younger boy was born…so I was seven months pregnant when we got the news. Our six-year-old tests at a one-year-old level. Doesn’t speak, we haven’t been able to toilet train him, and there are days when he alternates between weeping/laughing/screeching twiddling bits of paper, running back and forth aimlessly. I hate to admit it, but it is really hard to take, sometimes. It’s worst when he’s upset and I have no idea why and no idea how to console him, no matter how I try. The first two years after his diagnosis I was basically housebound, what with therapists from Early Intervention coming and going, and our youngest being so little.

Now he’s in a full-day program at a special school, which is great, since he has teachers trained about autism/applied behavioral analysis, but no one’s been able to tell us why he can’t speak or if he will ever speak.

Also, because of our financial situation, we can’t pay for the therapies and doctors that would be most likely to help him, and that kills me.

The situation with our older son affects our younger son…and that hurts too. Our older son has some frightening behaviors sometimes (biting, pulling hair) and both myself and my younger son have been bitten/had our hair pulled.

I’d be very happy living simply (even get rid of cable altogether) but I have the feeling my husband views this as a kind of punishment and that I am being “mean” and “punitive” by not bailing him out.

I feel that we have to cut wherever we can, get on some sort of debt repayment plan, and live very carefully/frugally if we are to extricate ourselves from this situation.

Just an example….I always switch off lights (TV, radio et cetera) when I leave a room, but my husband leaves them on. He has lights on even in the morning, when there is sufficient natural light coming in the windows (I’ll get up to find the blinds still closed and all the electric lights on).

But…it bothers him when I shut them off…since he says, “well, I’m going back in there” and complains that the apartment is too dark and depressing. Drives me nuts. But…it seems like he takes offense at my turning lights off even when there is no one in the room…and, in the same way, I know he will take offense if I suggest taking over the finances since he will take this as me saying he has failed.

I think, in many ways, it’s a male thing. He figures that, since he is a man and is earning the money, he can do what he wants, and, for me to suggest that he can’t is me trying to emasculate him. Many thanks for your response; I do appreciate it!!

RE: New to the blog and have some questions

I don’t believe they can touch your retirement, but with the BK laws changes recently, that might have also changed. If it were me, I would not touch my retirement money. This is all you have for the future and he has already shown he can’t be responsible for spending control. It seems he wants a quick fix to avoid working on his own impulses, but there is a chance he’ll run those credit cards up again as soon as they are paid off. He’s already done it after you were married. I have made the past mistake of borrowing from my 401K at work, but never realized I was double taxing myself by paying for it with after tax money. I was broke, in school, and desperate for money to pay my bills. Of course, I still ran up those bills even after taking out the loans. So, I just borrowed money to finance my out of control spending.

I filed for BK in 1990, when I was 22. It was a hard lesson to learn. That BK haunted me for 10 years.

I would contact Credit Counseling Services. They will help get your interest rates down and work out payment plans with creditors. I had a friend who did it and she was almost paid off with everyone. I will never file for BK again. The stats show that if someone has done it once, they are more likely to do it again…not me.

Is he willing to let you take over the finances? Maybe that would help ease his mind a little. I control all our finances because my husband can’t balance a checkbook. If you handle the money, you might be able to make everything work out.

Good Luck! It’s tough to deal with debt. Suze Orman says if you owe twice what you make, you’re essentially Bankrupt. Well, that applies to my husband and me, but I’m still fighting to pay everything off.

I am sorry if my email wasn’t what you’re looking for or if I stuck my nose where it didn’t belong, I would just hate to see you lose your retirement money.


Sounds to me like, if your finances have always been seperate, that he is the one who accumulated that debt in his name only, right? In that case, I would not compromise the retirement plan in your name. Leave that alone. Your suggesstions to cut back on unneccessary expense are the best route to go to avoid bankruptcy (if that’s what you’d prefer. He sounds like he isn’t willing to pay the piper now that the debt has bombarded him. Living without cable, highspeed internet and other luxury services is doable- I still live without all that hooplah and I’m not even in debt anymore. I also did the very thing with cutting down on food costs and eating less – so I lost weight and got healthier while paying off my debt. I filled my life with other activities to make me happier than I was when I thought I needed all that “stuff”. And you seem like you have more financial sense and wisdom than he does. Don’t compromise your assets – since he is doesnt sound willing to change his debt situation by doing the work. Getting him out of the jam will more than likely cause it to occur again a few years from now. I’ve seen it happen in other marriages.

After you get a sense that the debt can be paid off by both of you pulling together as team and gaining a trust in your finances together – stop seperating your marriage financially. And don’t let him say anyhing of the sort that he is the one who earns all the money. You have a fulltime job as a SAHM especially with one autistic child. Could your husband possibly work a part-tine job along with his full-time job to earn added income?

New to the blog and have some questions

I am new to the blog and hope that perhaps some of you might have some useful feedback/advice for the situation my husband and I are currently experiencing.

We are a family of four. My husband’s monthly take-home pay is $3754.00. I am currently a SAHM. We have two sons, one of whom is autistic (6 years old, non-verbal) and one who is four and developing typically. We live in a rental apartment, $1425.00 per month.

Recently, my husband told me that he was 45K in debt. A year after we married (we are married seven years) I paid off 40K worth of credit card debt and I assumed that the accounts had been closed.

However, my husband claims that, since we live in an expensive area (Westchester County, New York) and I am not currently working, he had to take online payday loans here some months in order to meet household expenses and that, since credit card minimums were recently doubled, that it is becoming unmanageable. I believe that about $1900.00 per month is going toward the credit card debt.

He saw a credit counselor last year (Greenpath) and they recommended bankruptcy. My husband does not want to do this because, if he does, he feels we will never be able to own a house. He doesn’t seem to feel it would be useful to speak to another credit counselor, but I disagree.

However, while I was working and living at home (10 years after graduating college) I managed to invest some money every week and the accounts are now worth about 141K (mainly retirement accounts). What my husband wants me to do is to put money down on a house so he can roll the debt over using the house as security.

I have asked whether he could negotiate better interest rates, or speak with someone at Money Management International and work out a payment scheme for the debts, but he has not yet taken a step in this direction, to the best of my knowledge. I have the feeling he just wants me to make it go away again.

I would be happy to cut our budget to the bone, get rid of any unnecessary expenses (cable, go back to dial-up service for internet, purchase only generics, halt purchase of new consumer goods, make do with what we have, cut the grocery bills whatever way I could) but he is not being very responsive to my suggestions for cutting costs which is rather frustrating to me.

Also, he wonders if, in NY State, if he tried to file for bankruptcy, would his creditors attach my retirement accounts?? Frankly, I’m curious about this as well. Our finances have been separate since we have been married, most all of my assets are in my name only (since they were earned prior to our marriage).

If there is anyone out there who has been in a similar position I would greatly appreciate your feedback.

Here’s a weird one

I got a phone call yesterday from a woman who said she was from First Financial and was calling to collect $1522 (the amount past due according to her on my Beneficial loan). The Beneficial loan is my 2nd mortgage. I told the woman I sent in $1600 a few days earlier and she STILL wanted to take my check info over the phone to take out more money. She couldn’t understand why I sent more than what I owed. With my mortgage I will pay a little more when I can to knock off some of the principal.

Does this situation sound odd to anyone else?

I would call your bank back and ask why they called you. It sounds to me like someone was “phishing” for your information.

Actually I was going to write a letter with my next payment. My dealings with Beneficial on the phone have been nightmarish. They say one thing and make payment arrangements, etc and then turn around and tell me I’m in default when I stuck to my end of the bargain. I think this call was just another example of them going back on their word or it could be phishing as well. Anyway, I find it much better for my mental health and blood pressure to deal with Beneficial in writing.

We have agreed in our household that when anyone calls and tries to do any kind of business, be it a creditor or a telemarketer, we tell them, “I do not do any business by phone. Put it in writing and send it to me and I’ll look it over.” If you don’t want to hang up on them, just keep repeating it. They’ll give up eventually. But do not encourage them by giving any information. By phone it is difficult to prove who the other person is, and you can’t hold them to verbal agreements. You need everything in writing so that both parties are clear about what you have agreed to and to be able to defend yourself if it came to that.

My very first full-time job out of high school (years ago) was working for a finance company. The collections people kept ledgers (this was before computers) of each customer who was late and whenever they would speak to them by phone or in person, they would write everything down.

We all need to do the same. All conversations over the phone or in person, keep a record of the date and time, who you spoke to, the and the content of the conversation.

Better yet, stay off the phone completely. Any communication with anybody should be done in writing to have a paper trail.

Renting usually requires first

You still should have a few thousand then, Renting (out here in Southern California) usually requires first, last month’s rent and a security deposit. and with most apartments going for the region of $1200-$1950.00 a month…. Never mind turning on any utilities yet….

Same applies in Northern California although the rent for a decent place may be as much as $1500 to start. If I hadn’t bought the family home, I don’t know how I would have done it.

I can’t remember where I read it, but I saw on one website your credit score can be improved by starting a savings account. Not a bad idea.. even if it didn’t improve ones score! 🙂

That’s the reason we left Los Angeles…could not afford housing there. I managed an apartment building for 6 years which allowed me to stay home and eventually have a child, but apartment managing got old and tired and I wanted a house. Can’t afford $600,000.00 and much higher for a house, so we moved to West Virginia, where the bulk of my family is from and we got a huge house for a fifth of what I would have paid for the same square footage in So Cal, which means I still get to stay home and be with my 3 year old.

That is the good thing about living in a small community, isn’t it! I live in a rural area, and I could rent another house for about 1000.00, because most here (east Tx) require 1st month + deposit. Or, we could stay with friends and family who would let us stay.

Credit cards are simply not an option for me, as I cannot afford to take on any more bills than I already have. Husband is in construction and has a bad back, so we will go 6 weeks at a time with no work. Then it is totally up to me to foot the bills, because he doesn’t make enough to set anything back when he does work. My money, sometimes only 1200/mo., does not last long when you pay rent, water, electric, phone, etc…, plus have kids living at home that you have to feed.

The good thing about the house I was looking at was that it was in my monthly rent range, and with income tax coming up, I would have enough for the down payment and at least 3 months payments, plus transfer of utilities.

I can’t live my life on it’s and buts. I am in the here and now, and if’s and buts do not apply to my life or my lifestyle. I truly think that if I can’t buy it with cash, I do not need it. The needs are taken care of, the wants are when we can afford them. Everyone here knows what to expect, and know that if I don’t have it, we don’t get it, regardless. Thank you for your opinion, it helps to see someone who has the same mindset on credit cards as I do!

You would have to have a few thousand in a bank account

If you haven’t a card, then I guess you would have to have a few thousand in a bank account. What if your home burned down and you have NO family? No card for a motel room, for food, for an extra set of clothing?

How would you meet the deductible on your house insurance to rebuild?

It isn’t always best to not have one at all, I feel the point is to be responsible and NOT use it for anything other than a real fat emergency.

I don’t think having a credit card is necessarily a bad thing, it is what we DO with the card.

When a family friend came down with a “hygienic problem”, my mother said: “It isn’t a disgrace to GET it, but it is a disgrace to KEEP it” and we helped her with it. Same with credit cards. I have one I will not use at all until we in CA get ‘The Big One’ or something major happens to my home.

No, I don’t have a few thousand in my bank account, and I guess if my house burned down, I would have to rent another one, which is what I am doing now. I don’t want a credit card, quite simply for the fact that I believe that if I don’t have the money, then I don’t get what I want. I have what I need already, and a credit card is not one of them.

I did file disputes on that credit card on the basis that it was not mine and I did not sign any papers nor request the card. I also disputed one of the medical bills that had been combined with older ones so that the 7 year thing would start later. Still waiting on the results of those.

I am hoping that (a) the credit card will be removed, and (b) that the medical bill will come down to the original amount of the original debt. It looks as though they are trying to charge penalties and interest on a medical bill, but when looking at my history and finding bills on the creditor, they have combined accounts.

I have to agree with this. I own my home, and my deductible is $1,000. If I had to, I can borrow the money to meet that from family or get help from the community and my church. Having a credit card got me in trouble a few years ago, and I’ve decided since then it’s cash for everything. Then I can’t go any further into debt than my mortgage and my student loans. We have no car loans, just previous bills we’re slowly catching up on. But if one has already had issues with credit cards and have learned they are better off without them, then one learns how to manage in emergencies without them. Not that long ago, this country functioned very well on the goodness and kindness of neighbors, not on credit cards. Thankfully, in my community, we still do. 🙂

How to increase FICO Score?

My FICO is currently 542, which knocked me out of a mortgage loan. There are 2 debts in debt collection I can pay off, and a credit card that was not mine. However, when I called to make pymt on cc for my spouse, they would not accept pymt unless I was put on account. Thus I am stuck with a cc on my report that I used one time ($20.00) and paid my part in full. I would make offer to cc company for 1/2 to see if they accept, but can’t find paperwork on them and no phone number. The rest of the collection accounts are medical bills that mortgage consulatant said would not count against me for a long.

Here is the question of my day…….If I pay those 3 things off, do you really think my score would improve, and, he also said that another problem is a lack of credit since I have not applied for new credit in over 5 years, but how can I justify getting a secured card when I don’t want a credit card to begin with???

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

I started with a FICO of 520. After a year and a half of paying down and such, I looked into a home loan for the ‘halibut’, and my FICO was up to 670.

Now that I’ve paid off 5-6 debts and closed other accounts, I can imagine it is up more now in the last year.

You can justify getting the SECURED card as this is something for real emergencies. Not for luxuries, new clothes, iPods, meals out or such. Think of it this way: If your home had a leak, a fire, termites…. something, you’d need money for the repair/insurance deductible/hotel accommodations during times of real trouble. That is one way *I* would justify having such a card. Yes, your score would indeed improve.

There are mortgage companies out there that do something called manual underwriting and they in no way look at your fico score to determine if your get the mortgage or not. They actually do the leg work to see if you paid your rent on time, paid your phone bill, your electric, etc. So if everything is good there, you can be approved. One company I know of is Churchill Mortgage which is advertised and endorsed by Dave Ramsey, a favorite of this blog.


As for the secured card, I have to disagree with wyldceltic, this is not a good idea for emergencies.. The last thing you want to do in an emergency is borrow money against your own account and then have to pay interest on the amount you borrowed from yourself….. Instead of getting one of those high interest, high fee cards, it’s better to just build up an emergency fund and have it sitting in an account somewhere.. Just my 2 cents..

BUT… if you cannot get any other card, because your income is low and you have a ‘past’ and no one will let you take up their offer, THEN what? On the card that is not yours, file a dispute with the the credit agency that you pulled your credit, Experian, Trans Union or ?? (I forget the 3rd)

At best they will remove it from your report, or they will research it and send you contact information so you can get it resolved.

Need help with court date

My background info: I’m going through a divorce and need to file bankruptcy, but I haven’t been able to start because I have to pay the attorney $1300 so I’ve been making monthly pmts to him. Most of the creditors stopped bugging me when I gave them his phone number, but…

**I have one creditor taking me to court. It’s not even that much, a little over $1,000.

So I just wanted to know, what do I bring with me to the trial? Should I bring proof of everything that I owe, and the paperwork I got that shows that our house is being forclosed on? Will any of this help? Can I make an arrangement with them at the trial, or will the court say I am too late and give them permission to garnish my wages?

Anyone been through this before?

Trial is tomorrow morning, and although I would love to bury my head in the sand and pretend it isn’t happening, that’s not an option. I need to call up my inner warriors lol.

Thanks for your help!

courtCall your lawyer, if you are making payments to him he should at least tell you what to do, if not call the court clerks office, explain your situation You may be able to file an extension.

After you file BK all judgements, liens and garnishments are stopped. So hurrry up to get the lump sum to the lawyer, I’m assuming you aren’t paying any other creditors.

Are you chap 13 or 7, if its 13 why isn’t the lawyer just putting his fee into you chap 13? Hope that helps, good luck, go warrior go,:)

Maybe your attorney can help you and give you advice??

Budgeting question

No kidding! I work PT and have at least 18 hours a week from that. But, sometimes I have more. Now, as I also get SSI from blindness (disability type I think) I can fluctuate a lot in that. For example, they see I had 3 paydays in December, so they at SSA are cutting my benefits by about $225.00 in February. The third payday was on the 29th and went to January’s bills, but they do not care, I am docked heavily.

SOOOOOOOOO, out of January, I must take that money and put it into my bank account for February’s bills. As a collector’s taking $300.00 a month, I must make sure that, and the house insurance money is there. If not, I shall be in a world of hurt if they do not get paid.

So, month to month, SSA lets me know what THEY think I can live on and deal with it I must. I can’t pre budget much that way, but I do have roommate’s rent which is reliable, and can figure 18 hours a week at least. anything over that, once calculated for two months ahead, is budget-able.

When I first took the job I have now, I was on an hourly scale. I tried so hard never to take off, because I knew I could not make it to the next week paycheck if I did. I have been salaried for about 4 weeks now, and my check only fluctuates one time a month for dental insurance. But it is still hard to budget when you depend on someone else’s money, like a spouse, who is seasonal in employment and has bad back, so I have learned that I cannot depend on that money, all has to be done with mine.

It’s really hard when your hours vary week to week. Also right now (January thru March) the hours where i work get cut way back. The store doesn’t get a lot of business in these months so they cut hours to help cover their expenses without caring we have bills to pay too. Last year i was getting 12 hours a week most of the time and that’s not enough to even cover half the rent on the cheapest place so I had to move in with my parents (who charge me $300 a month plus half the electric bill and I buy food for my son and me).